Women’s rights activist Sandra Fluke officially endorsed New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn as the city’s next mayor on Tuesday, hoping to bolster support among women voters for the sole female candidate in the field.
“My decision to endorse her is based not only on what she’s done for women, but on many aspects of her record as a leader and on the fact that she has the experience and the seriousness of purpose to be a leader for New York City,” said Fluke at an event in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood. “Having Chris as the next mayor is going to send such a strong message to girls and women throughout New York City.”
Fluke — whom Quinn referred to as “a tremendous power of example for all of us” and “one of America’s great feminist leaders” — first came to national attention as a Georgetown University law student in February 2012, when she argued at a congressional hearing that birth control should be covered by insurance policies.
Soon afterward, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh publicly suggested that Fluke was a “slut” who is “having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception.” While Limbaugh later attempted to make amends for his comments, Fluke said the apology was dubious.
Quinn raised the controversy on Tuesday, saying that Fluke was “viciously attacked in a horribly sexist way” and bravely stood up for women when she could have easily returned to private life.
“What Sandra did in response to that is why I’m so proud to be getting her endorsement,” she said. “She sent a message to Washington and governments all across this country that bullying women and girls doesn’t work. Bullying women and girls only propels us forward to fight for our rights and the rights of young women and young girls even more strongly.”
Quinn also highlighted her own record on women’s reproductive rights as chairperson of the City Council’s Committee on Health, citing statewide and national support from EMILY’s List and the Women’s Campaign Fund.
Polls show Quinn leading a crowded field of Democratic candidates, having surged ahead of Anthony Weiner after the former congressman’s latest sexting scandal came to light two weeks ago. Meanwhile, Weiner has found himself in more hot water after calling 69-year-old Republican mayoral candidate George McDonald "grandpa" at an AARP forum on Tuesday.
Quinn, Weiner and the other Democratic candidates will square off in a primary scheduled for September 10. They are vying to replace Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who will step down when his third term expires in January.